5 Must-Read Books to Raise Resilient, Confident Kids

I love to read (thanks Mom and Dad)! Sometimes I pick up a book and literally fall in love after the first page. With those books, I not only read them cover to cover, I also highlight, write notes, dog-ear pages, and re-read sections multiple times. But then, there are some books that I come across and think Wow, this could change a child or a family’s life. Those books I get a little bit obsessed with!

In fact, when I come across one of those paradigm-shifting books, I usually reach out to the author to see if I can interview them about their inspiring ideas to learn more. This is the genesis of many of the free summits we run at GoZen!, including the recent Confident Child Summit.

Now, for the juicy stuff: I’d love to tell you about five books that I highly recommend on the subject of raising resilient, confident kids.


#1 How to be Yourself by Dr. Ellen Hendriksen

One of the hallmarks of a socially anxious child or teen is feeling alone. Painfully alone. Not only can’t they shake the idea that something is wrong with them, but they’re certain it’s only them, and everyone else can see it, as if they’re trapped alone behind glass with their faults on public display. In How to be Yourself, Dr. Hendriksen throws a hammer that shatters those false perceptions.

Using different combinations of science, compassion, and humor, she gives the socially anxious an honest sense of belonging (there are millions just like us), a true sense of self-worth (the socially anxious have unique strengths), and an achievable, clear-cut path to breaking free of anxiety’s trappings.

Dr. Hendriksen’s full interview included in The Confident Child Summit.


#2 Popular by Dr. Mitch Prinstein

If I say “popularity,” what’s the first thing that jumps into your mind? I’m going to guess you’re thinking of high school, or your teenage years, or maybe even your kids’ own youthful experiences. I’ve always thought of popularity as a thing to be outgrown, some childish social hierarchy that hurts some, empowers others, but causes stress and anxiety for everyone involved.

Well, what’s a good book without a surprise? Dr. Prinstein uses actual science to explore different brands of popularity. Turns out there’s a bad kind, which is the kind that jumped into most of our minds, but also a really good kind that can actually have a lasting impact on our health, our success, and our morality all through life!

Dr. Prinstein full interview included in The Confident Child Summit.


#3 Captivate by Vanessa Van Edwards

If there was ever a handbook for socializing successfully, this is it! Captivate is an awesome guide to interacting with people anywhere: dances, parties, at school, on the stage, and on and on! Not sure how to start a conversation with someone? Not sure how to hold your body and hands when you’re giving a speech? Not sure what to do with your eyes when walking around a party? Vanessa Van Edwards has answers in this book.

Her super practical (not to mention fun) tools seem simple, but they actually help kids foster meaningful connections, even if the idea of walking through a public space terrifies them. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in boosting their social confidence!

Vanessa‘s full interview included in  The Confident Child Summit.


#4 The Power of Meaning by Emily Esfahani Smith

I love it when someone challenges our commonly held assumptions. Like, if I told you that pursuing happiness is NOT something we should encourage our children to do, you’d be shocked, right? I mean, everyone wants their kids to be happy. How can that be a bad thing? In The Power of Meaning, you’ll learn how striving for a “happy” life often results in the exact opposite, and how an alternative goal for us and for our kids is the pursuit of meaning.

Emily’s research reveals four components, or “pillars,” of a meaningful life, and they’re far more concrete and achievable than you’d think for such a lofty goal. This is one of a small handful of books that sincerely changed the way I view my life, and the lives of my kids.

Emily’s full interview included in The Confident Child Summit.


#5 The Agile Leaner by James Anderson

I thought I had a deep, research-based understanding of growth mindset… then I read The Agile Learner (and, frankly, all of James Anderson’s books). In this book, James uses the familiar concepts of Growth Mindset and Habits of Mind and turns up the dial, making them more than just thought processes, but an intuitive set of language and actions that parents and teachers can share with their kids and students to help them achieve their best in a challenging and unpredictable world.

James’s full interview included in  The Confident Child Summit.


If these book looks interesting, you won’t want to miss the one-hour interviews with each of these experts during The Confident Child Summit. Learn more about all of the speakers and interviews at the summit here!

What are your favorite parenting, psychology, or any genre book? Drop a comment below and share!

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1 thought on “5 Must-Read Books to Raise Resilient, Confident Kids”

  1. Thank you for the suggestions! I have started reading “How to be Yourself”. The checklists at the beginning of the book, to indicate social anxiety, are helpful. As a School Social Worker in a middle school, this book will be a very helpful to share.

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